By Víctor Piccininni
We are about a year into a tragic global event: the Covid-19 pandemic.
The world went “silent”, desolate streets, disoriented governments, men and women sheltered in their homes, powerful people in terror, empty schools, faces covered, hospitals overflowing.
The planet as a whole was stunned by an event it could not comprehend in depth. For the first time, a specific global problem affected all human beings on the planet at the same time, regardless of race, country, economic power, creed, social or cultural position. Nature, life, reminded us that today we are all connected, that no one survives in isolation, that well-being and health is a common good that must reach all of humanity. He told us (he tells us) that something essential in human-society must be changed. And it had to be… “now”!
An opportunity was opening up:
Would humanity be able to listen to this “signal” and give a global response of solidarity, kindness, and compassion, without discrimination and violence? Would it be able to listen to this need, this deep “cry” that demanding a transformation of its usual response system based on economic power, individualism and violence?… the challenge is posed…:
“generate an organized and equitable global response that simultaneously reaches all corners of the planet. To put science at the service of ALL humanity, without discrimination, without putting money above human life, without first-, second- or third-class citizens”.
Science began a rapid deployment. It found partial answers to the problem, vaccines. Today we see how economic power, large laboratories linked to financial interests, and powerful governments are once again taking over scientific development and distributing it according to the violent logic of “every man for himself”. International organizations (UN, WHO) raise declamatory voices without the capacity to transform anything. The power lies elsewhere.
The challenge seems to be forgotten. The vaccines developed are distributed according to the mercantilist logic and the political-economic power of each region. Some trends confirm this painful conclusion:
Powerful countries vaccinate “one person per second” while the poorest countries have not yet administered any doses.
The United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union are holding back any WHO-driven program to boost the delivery of vaccines to the poorest regions (Africa and some parts of Asia).
Seventy-five per cent of vaccines have been delivered to just 10 countries. More than 130 countries have not received a single dose.
More than 100 countries will receive the first vaccines by the end of 2021 or in 2022. (Source: Oxfam – www.oxfam.org)
For the time being, this “request” and this call for equality, justice and global solidarity has not been heard or has not had enough force.
An “opportunity” looks now almost lost.